RealTime IT News

IBM Hiring Forecast Brightens

Driven by growing demand for its global business consulting services, IBM said today it would almost double the number of new hires it originally projected for 2004.

The tech bellwether said it plans to add an additional 8,800 workers to its previous forecast of 10,000 new jobs. The majority of the jobs will be in Linux services, grid computing and business transformation services, according to IBM spokesperson Clint Roswell, who added that about two-thirds of the jobs would be in business consulting.

"The number one hire is a consultant at the intersection of IT and different industries," Roswell said. "The hiring pace has accelerated. In the month of July, we added about 3,000 new jobs."

About one-third of the jobs will be based in North America with another third each in Europe and Asia.

The hiring projections do not include employees gained through acquisitions or jobs outsourced to IBM. The company currently projects to employ approximately 330,000 employees by the end of the year, its highest total since 1991.

Most of the new hires will be experienced IT professionals with only a third focused on recent college and university graduates.

The hiring news brightens an otherwise bad week of announcements from the tech sector. Thursday morning, HP announced that earnings for the third quarter would be 7 cents lower than the analysts' consensus of 31 cents.

IBM shares were down $1.24 to $82.29 in mid-afternoon trading.